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Autumn Post

Ah… finally, autumn is upon us. Root vegetables, a chill in the air, reds, rust, oranges, yellows…and of course, new ideas. (Let’s hope!!) Summer dresses into the back of the closet, but what to wear? Haha! Shop? Nah… too much to do. I remember when my son was about 1 year old, we’d go for long walks when all of the Halloween decorations were being put up. He loved the fake spider webs. Those lovely, innocent days – years. Now it’s the grind of homework, and the occasional “time out”… just for the fun of it! Can any of you relate to this?

Just finished lyrics for a cheeky new song, and soon to record a vocal. It’ll be a fun song to play live. I’m also looking for a venue to play in L.A. So sad about Witzend – about Jeb. That was a great place to play, and I may still try to play there if they keep the club opened. I played in New York last week at SubCulture, which was a fantastic, intimate venue, and where my good friends, Larry Saltzman and Renee` Goldsberry sat in. (They were wonderful!) I stayed an extra day in N.Y. and saw The Book of Mormon! Yee Haa!!! Wo. Pretty over-the-top, but very cathartic.

As you may have noticed, I’m posting a lot of the songs from Ally McBeal on SoundCloud, as I’ve gotten so many requests over the years to hear the songs in their entirety.  Because they’re only for streaming, and not downloading, I can finally do this.  I really hope you enjoy going back in time and listening to these songs!  It was an era where all of the musicians were playing together – nothing was programmed, and we recorded onto 2 inch tape (not pro-tools), so some of the vocals are out of tune, and we edited in the old school way.  We did do overdubs, so it wasn’t all live, but the spirit was captured by the 5 of us playing together… nothing like it.  I often chose takes for songs based on the live vocal that expressed the emotion of the song, rather than the perfect drum performance (much to the chagrin of various drummers, but hey, it worked!)  The first year was mostly Val McCallum on guitars, Jim Hanson (with whom I still play now), Jeff Young on keyboards, as well as myself on piano much of the time, and Andy Kamman on drums.  From around the second year on, we had Pete Thomas on drums, Davey Faragher on bass and often Neil Larson on keyboards, as well as Jeff and myself.  The whole first year, Val, Jeff, Jim and I, and sometimes the great Lynn Davis would sing the background parts.  At some point, David K. added the 3 wonderful back-up singers in the bar… Sy Smith, Renee Goldsberry and Vatrina King, all of whom have wonderful singing, songwriting and acting careers in movies, in television, and on Broadway.  Carmen Carter sometimes joined us as well… how lucky we were to have a budget for all of these tremendous talents!   I’ll keep the songs coming, and please send your requests… FaceBook is the best way for me to get these, and I’ll try to find the songs you like!

I have some new recipes I’d like to share… will work on getting those to paper (computer) soon. One has lentils, caramelized onions, mint, sun dried tomatoes (which I can live without), some sort of vinegar… excellent! Now, about that cooking show… I actually pitched a cooking show where I suddenly break out in song, and all of the songs are about food – with titles like “Mix it Up”, and “Stir it, Mama” – any takers? “Spoon it in…” This is what I do when I’m not actually writing songs that are viable for a record. Read a great book – The Hummingbird’s Daughter, by Urrea. Such vivid characters… you’d have to be into magical realism a bit, and folklore. I liked it much better than 100 Years of Solitude, but it could have just been my mood. And the sequel is fantastic as well.

I feel like I’m writing a letter to a friend, only I’m not asking how my friend is. How are you? People? What’s new? What are you reading? Cooking? Thinking? I don’t really feel like writing about politics at the moment… too frustrating, but let’s all keep connecting, staying positive, smiling at each other, letting each other turn in front of us in traffic – being generous, breathing, appreciating our health, and the moment, our families, in whatever form they may take.

Have a great October, and hope to see some of you soon on the road! (This is the first time I don’t have any shows booked – just need the time to finish this record!)



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5 Responses

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  • Michael Brant on

    Yes – let people in in traffic! 8)

  • Jamie Finlay on

    Thanks Vonda, loving the songs up on soundcloud, especially the Dylan cover. I really don’t remember that one, although I only watched on and off. I spotted the subculture had put up a gospel cover you did on YouTube the other day, loved the funky sound – you should definitely play more of these!

    Thanks for the tip on the book, just ordering that on Amazon. If you like magical realism have you read Murakasmi’s Kafka on the Shore? It’s really ghostly and beautiful. I’ve been reading a few of his books recently so it’ll be good to have a chance now though.

    Good luck with the new songs, really looking forward to a new record! (And a UK tour!)


  • Jim Schlueter on

    Ms Shepard, thank you for your art. Your voice is fantastic and we wish you would tour near us in Ohio instead of the Coast. Of course we understand the desire to be out West!
    Thank you!
    Jim Schlueter

  • Leandro Ratz on

    my dear
    When you sing turns to Brazil? We also deserve to see and hear you live.
    It’s a challenge, you accept it?
    Leandro Ratz
    Porto Alegre-RS
    south Brazil

  • Todd on

    Are there any Chicago dates planned in the future? I saw you years ago and you were fantastic.

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